Charred Chard: Cooking With Swiss Chard

While we wouldn't advise literally charring your Swiss chard, you shouldn’t avoid cooking with the leafy green. With its thick stalks and ample leaves, Swiss chard can be cooked in a variety of ways that can put heavyweights like kale and spinach to shame. From cooking tips to some of our favorite dishes, here’s how we like to cook with Swiss chard.

Getting Started

Subpar ingredients can wreck the overall quality of your finished product, so proper storage and selection is integral to any dish. Before you start cooking, be on the lookout for telltale signs of spoilage like discolored or wilted leaves, dried stalks, or odd smells. 

  • Pro Tip: For more storage and selection information, click here.

Don’t Leaf Me Alone

When served raw and unaltered, Swiss chard leaves have a bitterness that isn’t everyones cup of tea. Exposing your veggie to a quick blast of heat will cut decrease this bitterness, replacing it with sweeter, less vegetal flavor. Like most greens, Swiss chard leaves will quickly decrease in size when cooked, so don’t be afraid to get a little heavy handed when portioning out your dish. 

Taking Stalk

Don’t let the leaves have all the fun. Swiss chard stalks can be cooked in a variety of ways, offering more crunch than the leaves per bite. In fact, the stalks even get sweeter the longer they’re cooked! That being said, your cook time can vary depending on the age of your chard. For example, younger chard cooks much fast than older chard, as it gets thicker with age. Be sure keep a mental count of how long you’ve had your veggies and adjust accordingly. 

  • Pro Tip: Cooking the leaves and stalks together? Make sure to add the stalks first, as they’ll take longer to cook. 

Method Man

Due to the heartiness of Swiss chard, the leafy green can be cooked using a variety of traditional cooking methods. Boiling, roasted, and sautéing are all fantastic places to start, as each offers a unique texture. With the latter two, be sure to use olive oil to help the leaves and stalks cook evenly.

Pairing Up

With a flavor best described as an approachable, less vegetal take on kale, Swiss chard is easy to work with. Spice wise, common ingredients like salt, garlic powder, and chili powder are all great places to start. Additionally, Swiss chard is historically friendly with a variety of cheeses like parmesan, mozzarella and goat cheese. In terms of protein, anything that would pair with spinach or kale will work with chard!

Dish It Out

With so much flexibility with cooking methods and complimentary ingredients, the sheer possibility of Swiss chard can appear a little daunting. For those looking to dip their toes into the world of Swiss chard, we’d recommending crafting your own Italian inspired side. Simply sauté the leaves and stalks and combine with lemon juice, onion, and your favorite Italian cheese! All in all, this dish takes under ten minutes from prep to plate! 

  • Pro Tip: Looking for a heftier meal? Throw bacon, sausage, or chicken in the mix!